There is an ongoing rumor that Apple Inc. is assembling a big team of virtual and augmented reality technology experts. This team is supposed to build prototypes of headsets that will rival Hololens of Microsoft and Oculus Rift of Facebook.
The secret research team will be composed of hundreds of staff poached or acquired from other companies. According to CNBC the group will be working on the next-generation headset technologies.
The news is leaked after a report from the Financial Times indicated that the tech giant hired a leading VR researcher in the person of Doug Bowman.
Apple's chief executive, Tim Cook, stated last week that there is a broad appeal for the technology. "It is really cool and has some interesting applications," said Cook.
Previously, a report came out in 2015 that the iPhone manufacturer has been quietly assembling blocks of the company's VR (virtual reality) strategy.
The rumor started when the tech giant was awarded a patent called 'Head-Mounted Display Apparatus for Retaining a Portable Electronic Device with Display.' The long term simply means a virtual reality headset that is powered by either an iPod or an iPhone inside the unit.
The speculations were boosted when the tech giant poached employees from companies developing next-generation headset technologies and Lytro, a camera start-up business.
In addition, Apple Inc. also recently acquired Flyby Media, a start-up doing work on augmented reality that will enable mobile devices to 'see' their environment. Google worked closely with Flyby Media in building its software for its Project Tango, a 3D positioning technology.
The company's interest in this area has been revived when Facebook acquired the Oculus Rift in 2014. Previously, Apple bought PrimeSense, an Israeli motion-sensing company in 2013.
After that, the tech giant intensified its recruitment and made business deals in VR and AR and bought Faceshift and Metaio.